Helm has been cleared to return from a concussion; expects to play Saturday in Minnesota

DETROIT >> Quick update from Detroit Red Wings practice Friday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.

Darren Helm has been cleared to return to the lineup after missing eight straight games dealing with a concussion.

“I’m excited to get back in, obviously,” Helm said. “I’ve done this a few times. I want to get back out there and get going with the team.”

Helm expects to play Saturday afternoon in Minnesota.

“I’ve had a bunch of good skates, cleared by the doctor, did my concussion test, I guess you could call it, did well on that and I feel good and ready to go,” Helm said. “I’m really excited. I’ve been watching this team do a lot of good things. (Thursday) night, the night before, last couple games I really wanted to be a part of seeing what the guys did, how they laid it on the line, how excited everybody was with those wins, for myself included. I felt a little left out, but get a chance to be a part of it now and hopefully keep a good thing going.”

Helm said he’s centering Cory Emmerton and Landon Ferraro.

“I’ve played with those guys a couple of times, played with Lando in GR when I went down, good kid, and Emmer’s been here for a while,” Helm said. “Hopefully we can find some chemistry quick and I don’t think we’ll be playing huge minutes but hopefully we can be effective.”

His coach wasn’t so sure.

“I don’t know, we’ll see after (Saturday’s) warmup if he’s going or not,” Wings coach Mike Babcock.

Helm, who was diagnosed with a concussion by the same specialist the saw Patrick Eaves and Johan Franzen, was injured in Ottawa on Feb. 27 when he hit his head hard on the ice. Later in the game he was grazed in the chin which also could have triggered it.

In the Wings’ next game his vision became blurry.

Helm has played in just 29 games this season, totaling seven goals and five assists.

When asked if what one word he would use to describe his season thus far Helm said, “I’d say painful, not physically but mentally. That’s the word I’ll pick.”

Just this season alone, Helm has also been sidelined with injuries to his groin, shoulder and back.

“Keep it short and simple, not making too many hard plays,” Helm said of how he’s got to play in his return. “Smart at the blue line, making sure the pucks are getting out of our zone and into their zone. Try to shoot a lot of pucks on net. Not make it too hard on myself.”

Helm was a last minute scratch prior to the Winter Classic due to the groin injury.

Helm made his season debut on Nov. 2 after playing in just two games over the last 19 months.

To begin the season, Helm was sidelined with a back problem and then his groin became an issue.

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